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Elon Musk’s xAI to Open-Source Grok Amidst Legal Battle with OpenAI

 |  March 11, 2024

Elon Musk’s artificial intelligence startup, xAI, announced on Monday its decision to open-source its ChatGPT challenger, “Grok.” This move comes hot on the heels of Musk’s recent lawsuit against OpenAI, a company he co-founded, alleging a departure from its original mission in favor of a profit-driven model.

The announcement, made via Musk’s social media platform X, comes amidst a legal tussle between the billionaire entrepreneur and OpenAI, which he left in 2018. Musk has been vocal about his concerns regarding the commercialization of AI by tech giants such as Google, and his recent legal action against Microsoft-backed OpenAI underscores his commitment to this stance, per Reuters.

In response to Musk’s lawsuit, OpenAI revealed emails suggesting Musk’s support for a for-profit strategy and even a merger with Tesla to create a lucrative entity. Musk’s decision to open-source Grok appears to align xAI with the growing trend of firms like Meta and Mistral, which have embraced open-source AI models.

The move is seen as an attempt by Musk to provide the public with access to the underlying technology, allowing for experimentation and innovation. This approach contrasts with the proprietary models maintained by tech giants like Google, although even Google has taken steps towards open-sourcing AI, exemplified by its release of the Gemma model.

Related: Musk Threatens To Sue Microsoft Over “Illegal” Use Of Twitter Data

The debate surrounding open-source AI has intensified since Musk’s legal actions, with tech investors like Vinod Khosla and Marc Andreessen engaging in discussions about its implications. While open-sourcing can accelerate innovation, critics warn of potential risks, including the misuse of AI technology by malicious actors.

Musk himself has acknowledged these concerns, advocating for the establishment of a “third-party referee” to oversee AI development and intervene if necessary. xAI, conceived as an alternative to OpenAI and Google, aims to create AI systems focused on truth-seeking, with Grok being a notable milestone in this endeavor.

Grok was initially rolled out to Premium+ subscribers of X in December, marking xAI’s entry into the AI market. Musk has previously expressed support for the concept of open-source AI, indicating a strategic alignment with his recent decision.

As the legal battle between Musk and OpenAI unfolds, the tech community watches closely, anticipating its implications for the future of AI development and open-source initiatives.

Source: Reuters